American Icons: The Outsiders

Susan Eloise Hinton was a teenager when she wrote The Outsiders, the story of rival gangs in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Publishers didn’t think readers would take a book about class warfare seriously, if they knew it was written by a teenage girl, so she used the pen name “S.E.”

Librarian Elizabeth Bird says the novel’s unresolved class struggle resonates as powerfully as ever. “There are always going to be the haves and the have-nots — the divide is getting bigger and bigger all the time. And this book talks about that. A lot of books for kids and teens do not.”

After directing an all-queer performance of The Outsiders, performance artist and “high school drama teacher,” Heather Acs is interviewed by Lu Olkowski of Studio 360 along with S.E. Hinton and Ralph Macchio.

Listen to the interview on NPR’s Studio 360 website.

Do it for Johnny!